Issue 22, 2016

Man-made molecular machines: membrane bound


Nature's molecular machines are a constant source of inspiration to the chemist. Many of these molecular machines function within lipid membranes, allowing them to exploit potential gradients between spatially close, but chemically distinct environments to fuel their work cycle. Indeed, the realisation of such principles in synthetic transmembrane systems remains a tantalising goal. This tutorial review opens by highlighting seminal examples of synthetic molecular machines. We illustrate the importance of surfaces for facilitating the extraction of work from molecular switches and motors. We chart the development of man-made transmembrane systems; from passive to machine-like stimuli-responsive channels, to fully autonomous transmembrane molecular machines. Finally, we highlight higher-order compartmentalised systems that exhibit emergent properties. We suggest that such higher-order architectures could serve as platforms for sophisticated devices that co-ordinate the activity of numerous transmembrane molecular machines.

Graphical abstract: Man-made molecular machines: membrane bound

Article information

Article type
Tutorial Review
25 Nov 2015
First published
02 Mar 2016
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Soc. Rev., 2016,45, 6118-6129

Author version available

Man-made molecular machines: membrane bound

M. A. Watson and S. L. Cockroft, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2016, 45, 6118 DOI: 10.1039/C5CS00874C

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